Surat, Dec 9 (ANI): Diamond traders of Surat, famous for being experts in the art of cutting the 'ice', celebrated the verdict of a Chinese court to release of 14 of their fellow traders who were in prison for nearly two years on charges of alleged smuggling.
The of diamond industry fraternity marked the occasion with a rally, bursting crackers and distribution of sweets.
Harshbhai Singhvi, a participant in the victory celebrations, said the traders had repeatedly appealed to the Central Government to help their colleagues, but to no avail.
He credited Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for achieving the breakthrough during his visit to China in November.
"Diamond traders from here wrote many letters to the Central Government, but did not receive a reply. We give full credit (for the release) to the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi," said Singhvi.
Denying allegations of smuggling, Singhvi said the traders had probably found themselves in a fix on account of ignorance about prevailing trade regulations in China.
"See, this is the diamond trade, and in this case, it was being done legally. Due to different laws being applicable in China, and the ignorance of a few traders in this respect, such a problem arose. But we do not believe there was any smuggling involved," added Singhvi.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition Congress, celebrated in different parts of the city, with both claiming credit for the traders' release.
In January of 2010, 22 traders from Surat and Mumbai were arrested in China on charges of smuggling.
On December 7, a court at Shenzhen in China ordered the release of 14 traders, of whom 11 were acquitted, while the others were released due to the completion of their sentences. (ANI)